HESED IN TIFERET
adapted from Meta-Parshiot by R David Wolfe-Blank and Living Torah by R Aryeh Kaplan
HIGHLIGHTS OF BO
Three more plagues follow the first seven, increasing pressure on Pharaoh. Havayah (YHVH) directs Moshe to have Members of the Tribe offer a sacrifice and mark their doorposts to avoid the final deadly plague. This signal causes the plague to “pass over” these homes keeping those inside safe.
There is a great outcry from the Mitzrim (those who lived in Egypt) because every home suffered loss with the exception of those who did the protection ritual mentioned above. Only then, does Pharaoh allow the Hebrew slaves to leave Mitzrayim. The “passing over”, in this Torah portion, becomes a root experience of Jewish Identity to this day.
There is a difference between are root experiences and epoch-making events. The Spanish Inquisition, for example, was an epoch-making event. However, it did not become a root experience for Jewish people. Time will tell whether or not The Shoah becomes a root experience in the Jewish psyche.
מִן-הַמֵּצַר, קָרָאתִי יָּהּ
Min haMeitzar Karati Yah – from the narrow place, I called out to Yah…Psalm 118:5
Meitzar, is narrowness or density. Meitzar limits, it is an aspect of G’vurah. Having said that, it is G’vurah’s job to direct, guide and modulate Ohr Ein Sof (Infinite Light) to bring it into manifestation. It shares a root with Mitzrayim.
MITZRAYIM – LITERALLY
The word Mitzrayim, Egypt translates as “doubly narrow”. This word shares a root with “meitzar” referenced above.
Note – its my custom to use the Torah language when referring to Egypt and those who dwell there. Mitzrim – Egyptians, Mitzraim – Egypt
G’VURAH OUT OF BALANCE
LIKE A CANCER
Limiting for its own sake, rather than in support of the greater good, is an aspect of G’vurah out of balance and is related Sitra Ahra (other side). This dynamic is akin to the way cancer behaves in the body. Specifically in that it has its own agenda, is focused on its own survival, and does not support the wellbeing of its host. of the body.
Slaves do not have personal agency or freedom of choice. Taskmaster-slave dynamic does not recognize the innate sovereignty that is the birth right of each and every human. This is unbalanced G’vurah.
Questions to Consider
What doorpost rituals are practiced today?
What are the differences in between an “epoch making event” and a “root experience”?
Will the Shoah become a root experience for the Jewish people?
Is it be helpful for the Shoah to become a root experience for the Jewish people? Why, or why not?
PARASHAT BO COUNTS HESED IN TIFERET
CYCLES OF TORAH
This parashah initiates a new cycle of seven.
HESED – The first cycle of Seven
The initial count of seven Torah portions through the Etz Hayyim, Tree of Life, expresses Hesed. The narrative is about creation and expansion. The first heroes in this growing mindset and lineage come forward.
G’VURAH – The second cycle of seven
The Torah reading in the next seven week count are largely about revenge, power, slavery, and famine. First, is the massacre of Sh’khem. Later, young Yoseph is thrown into a pit and sold into slavery. Finally, by completion of this cycle of seven the entire Hebrew community enslaved, abused, and beaten down. The people are in chains. The people cry out to Havayah in their pain and distress.
CYCLES OF LIFE
This sequence of fourteen steps is similar to the pattern in the first 14 years of human life.
The first 7 years of life requires Hesed (benevolence) for the newborn’s survival. The young child has a deep reliance on parental figures. As a result, and they appear to the young one like “super heros”. These are formative years where love, approval, and acceptance can establish a loving foundation that lasts through through life.
EXODUS AS HESED
Pesah (Passover) is first elucidated in this Torah portion. It associated with Hesed. Each S’firah is associated with a specific holiday.
Havayah heard their cries and by the merit of the Divine promise made to the ancestors great Hesed came forward. The slave people did not do anything in particular to merit the rescue. (Bnai Yisaskhar ma-amar 12:1, 3)
The end of the second cycle, G’vurah, leaves most children struggling with the problems of adolescence – a natural time of differentiating from family and beginning to cultivate a distinct sense of self. By this stage, parental figures who once were seen as heroes now may seem as life-affirming and generous as Pharaoh‘s task masters. Its natural aspect of adolescence.
By the end of this Torah portion Bnai Yisrael leave Mitzrayim. This huge Hesed saves the people. It energetically changes the dynamic. It initiates Tiferet and brings balance to the intense G’vurah endured through slavery. The slave people are moving into freedom.
LEARNING THROUGH JOY, MINIMIZING OY
Climate change is the single most important global issue today threatening the longevity of life as we know it on this planet. Citizens and leaders of planet Earth must make significant investments in sustainable energy like wind and solar power to offset the high demand for coal, oil, and gas. One need only look at wildfires and flooding over the last several years to understand that Climate change is a current crisis, not a future one.